Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Swiss Banks Participating in US DOJ Program (12/31/13)

This is my rough and ready list of participating Swiss banks.  I am sure that there are omissions, errors as to categories, etc.  I am incorporating this information into the master spreadsheet, so I would appreciate readers advising of additions, corrections, etc.  I should note that privately owned banks that do not require public reporting apparently do not have to disclose their participation in the program at this time.  Some are reporting participation.  I suppose at some point, almost all will be known, but I am certain this is an incomplete list.

Aargauische Kantonalbank 2
acrevis Bank AG 4
AEK Bank 1826 4
Appenzeller Kantonalbank 4
Baloise Bank SoBa 3
Bank am Bellevue 3
Bank Coop AG 2
Banque Cantonale de Fribourg 2
Banque Cantonale de Genève 2
Banque Cantonale du Jura 2
Banque cantonale du Valais 2
Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise 2
Banque Cantonale Vaudois 2
Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild 2
Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank 3
Berner Kantonalbank 2
Cembra Money Bank AG 3
Cornèr Banca SA 2
Edmond de Rothschild Group 2
EFG International AG 2
Glarus Bank 4
Graubündner Kantonalbank 2
Hyposwiss Privatbank Zurich AG 2
Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneve SA 2
Linth Bank 2
Lombard Odier & Cie. 2
Luzerner Kantonalbank 2
Migros Bank AG 2
Nidwaldner Kantonalbank 2
Notenstein Privatbank Ltd. 3
Obwaldner Kantonalbank 4
Piquet Galland & Cie SA 2
Post Finance 2
Raiffeisen 3
Rothschild Bank AG, Zurich 2
Saanen Bank 2
St. Galler Kantonalbank 2
Schaffhauser Kantonalbank 2
Schwyzer Kantonalbank 4
Ticino Cantonal Bank 2
Union Bancaire Privee 2
Valiant Holding AG 2
Vontobel Holding AG 3
Valartis Bank (Switzerland) 3
VP Bank (Switzerland) 2
Walliser Kantonalbank 2
Zuger Kantonalbank 2


  1. Fresh in the press:

    «Amerika scheint immer weniger Respekt vor anderen Rechtssystemen zu haben».

    Translation: America appears to have continuously less respect towards other legal systems.


  2. Here is a Swiss article saying at least 60 banks signed up:


    That's a lot of admittedly criminal banks in category 2, putting out a lot of false spin. They should just say, we were criminals and got caught!

  3. Againnoone, have you had any dealings with these banks that substantiate your assertions of criminality? The banks I am familiar with have never suggested that I engage in wrongdoing or done anything other than passively accepting funds. Many of the banks on this list are in out of the way places and likely have very few US person clients other than those who reside in CH.

  4. I would have thought the same as you but for one thing: The category 2 banks admit to criminal wrongdoing. If they did not break US laws, as Jack has noted, they should not have signed up for category 2.

    It was a voluntary program, and some 15 - 20% of the pool of banks effectively pled guilty. Notably, the vast majority did not feel the compulsion to become category 2 banks.

    Maybe the banks were legal with you and illegal with others? You don't know their total picture. However, cutting to the bottom line, the category 2 banks admit by definition that they violated US criminal laws, which required intent and management involvement. The category 2 banks accept large fines, 'out' their employees (who could be arrested and extradited when they travel) and customers (regardless of whether or not the customers acted illegally) to save their own hides, and deserve no sympathy.

  5. Againnoone I disagree that joining the program (albeit it is labeled voluntary) indicated criminality. The situation seems similar to the OVDI/OVDP where joining the program is the only sanctioned method of disclosure. As I understand it, joining as Category2 allows a bank to change its category to 3 or 4, but not the other way around.

  6. There is another listing of participating banks at http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/Swiss_banks_sign_up_for_US_tax_programme.html?cid=37653288
    I don't know how it compares to yours.

    The list also includes the Category 1 banks, the ones under investigation.

  7. Is somebody who had accounts non-Category-1 banks and knows that these banks participate in the DOJ program likely to get a OVDP-preliminary rejection at this point?

  8. No. Banks participating on the program will provide statistical data not identifying account holders. Then the US will most likely make a treaty request for identifying information for US person accounts meeting certain criteria such as account size. Once the treaty request is granted account holders are notified by the bank and given a chance to fight disclosure in Swiss courts. Only when the US receives the identifying information is the account holder ineligible for OVDI. Of couse there is always the chance that the US could receive identifying information prior to this (from an ex-employee for example) and this would make the person ineligible.

  9. Anonymous, I think your response is very good. One nuance is that, if the IRS has flagged the taxpayer for audit for some year (regardless of the reason for flagging for audit), technically the taxpayer will not be admitted into the program (the database search will identify the audit at the preclearance stage). This is true eveni if the taxpayer has not been advised that he or she will be audited. So that is a bit of a risk, but I find that it only occurs in a very small number of cases.

    Jack Townsend

  10. In those cases, do you still submit the paperwork for the OVDP (in a way, pretending that the client pre-cleared when he/she was not) or will you just do a quiet? Thanks for your clarifications.

  11. Whether the bank has joined the program is one more factor to consider, and if the bank is not on the list of those joining one would have to consider the possibility that the bank id join and is not on the list. I would say that given the number of banks joining, the likelihood is that even though a bank is not on the list, it might have joined.
    But I think the decision on whether to do a QD, FC, or enter OVDI would be heavily influenced by the usual factors (account size, how the account was used, reason for having the account etc.)
    I don't understand your question about "pretending to be precleared." Preclearance is not a requirement, but an option to make sure someone is not ineligible before he decides to hand his information to the IRS on a sliver platter.


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